Wednesday, May 25, 2022

Gray Skies

Rain falls from a gray sky this morning. Earlier I took a walk in a light mist. A lovely much-needed soaking rain fell all day yesterday and will continue today. After some quite warm days, the temperature fell to the fifties. Sunday to Monday the overnight low was 36 degrees. I dragged the basil pots from the patio into our walkout basement and pulled the petunias close to the house to shelter on our small front porch. Yesterday I wrapped up in a shawl and knit on a charity project.  

My knitting is not terribly inspired this week. I knit a few more rows on the second sock of a pair. Sunday I pulled a skein from the "up-next" stash bin. I love the soft blush pink of this locally dyed yarn. I thought about casting on a hitchhiker but decided on a lace sampler scarf. I knit one several years ago in a deep teal and have worn it often. I'll follow the same recipe but vary the lace patterns. 

Sunday was a beautiful day. Before working in the yard and garden, I read for an hour or so on the deck. This little guy kept me company. He didn't know enough to be afraid of me. My current daytime read is The House of Life: Rachel Carson at Work. The author, Paul Brooks combined information about Carson's methods of writing and research with excerpts from her books. Brooks served as editor for a number of her books. The excerpts are long enough to give the reader a sense of her prose. I read one about a shore in the Artic and was struck by the way she conveys the interconnectedness of life along and in the sea. This wouldn't be a book for everyone but I am enjoying it. I ordered an inexpensive used copy as it was first published in 1972 and reissued in 1989. The book was cost one dollar but the shipping was more.

I also read a used copy of The River by Helen Humphreys. In The Lost Garden, a novel by Humphreys, the main character wrote several letters to Virginia Woolf. As I read The River, I wondered if Humphreys was influenced by Woolf's style of writing. The book meanders (as the river) between history, physical description of the area, and short pieces of fiction. It is beautifully illustrated with photography, a few old photographs, and art work. Once I noticed the change in background color that denoted the short fiction I found it easier to follow.  

I am off to write a note to my Congressional representatives to request gun regulation. It isn't much but it is what I can do. I'll leave you with this message from my slightly askew kitchen.  

Ravelry Link

Lace Scarf

Saturday, May 21, 2022

Gardening and Knitting Notes

Last Saturday my husband and I planted the tomatoes and cucumbers. A generous neighbor was thinning her prolific strawberry bed and offered plants to me. I now have a raised bed planted with starter strawberry plants. I need to cover it to keep out the rabbits and squirrels. I potted petunias and coleus for the front porch. I am a thrifty gardener. I would rather spend my hobby money on yarn, fiber, and good coffee so I stick to basics in the yard. The old-fashioned smaller variety of lavender iris are blooming. They aren't as showy but they have a wonderful fragrance. Iris always remind me of one of my Grandmothers - Gram. She had lots of pretty flowers, including irises, in her yard and was happy for my sister and I to pick bouquets any time. This yellow iris is just beginning to bloom. According to Wikipedia, Iris takes its name from a Greek word meaning rainbow. Iris is also the name for the Greek goddess of the rainbow. As Iris come in a rainbow of colors, the name seems fitting. 

This campanula, next to the chives, is a happy accident. Six or seven years ago, I bought a small pot to use as a centerpiece on a serving table. I stuck it in a corner of my herb garden and it grew and thrived. This year it is so pretty. I stick plastic forks around new plants to keep the critters out. It deters them some but didn't stop someone from getting into the parsley. 

Since I finished the shawl and sweater, I'm enjoying some smaller projects. I knit another slip-stitch dish cloth from Sarah's pattern and am now working on one using the waffle stitch that Kym mentioned. I knit this hat because I wanted to improve my colorwork knitting. It's a nice pattern. When I was a girl, Gram taught me to knit. She taught me the knit and purl stitch and to cast on and bind off. Otherwise I picked up techniques, including colorwork, from books, magazines, and most recently from the internet. My method of catching floats never worked well. Last year I found this 
tutorial on Modern Daily Knitting that was so helpful. Sometimes I get so stuck in my way of doing things that I forget to look for a better way. In this hat pattern, there were only two rows where I needed to catch a float but it was a nice little project. I really enjoyed working with the Juniper Moon Farm Moonshine yarn. I don't know that I'd knit a sweater with it but mittens would be quite warm and soft. 

Finally, look at this basil. Last year, the basil in pots produced well. I hope it does as well in this location again. Here's to the hope that comes with Spring.

Ravelry Links

Laurus Hat

Wash/Dish Cloths


Wednesday, May 11, 2022

Colors of May

Warm hot days have arrived this week. The trees are the brilliant shade of Spring chartreuse-like green. Soon they will deepen into summer's green but for now the color looks so fresh. The ninety degree temperatures feel warm. In two days, I went from walking while wearing a light jacket, cowl, and fingerless mitts to T-shirts and shorts. During May, I hang an oriole feeder with half of an orange in the back yard. Yesterday two pairs of Baltimore Orioles vied for spots on the feeder. They are so brilliantly colored and fun to watch.

Our son came to attend a funeral and is working remotely from our home. He came to support a good friend but it has been grand to have him around. On Mother's Day we made dinner together, a veggie lasagna, salad, and his "killer garlic bread." We had the nicest kind of Mother's Day. 

As we barrel toward summer, I link with Kat and the Unravelers. The best knitting news is I finished the Prairie Shawl. We took photos yesterday morning in 84 degree weather. Except for a few strands of leftover cream and the swath of the deepest blue, the yarn is handspun. The Polworth is warm so I won't be wearing it until Fall. I used the shaping and some stitch patterns from a commercial pattern calling for fingering weight yarn but this yarn was slightly heavier. The shawl is a generous size and may not be perfect but I was able to incorporate much of this spinning project. I like it.

Although my wool sock wearing season has ended, anytime is a good time to knit socks. I finished a speckled sock and cast on the second one.  I also knit a little on the Guernsey Scarf.  This advent set was a birthday gift last year. I'm enjoying the knitting and adding colors in the order in which the dyer numbered them. The DK wool is wooly and warm so this project may rest over the summer months. 

I'm in a reading lull. It's time to make my summer reading list. I recently ordered two used books by Helen Humphreys. I am waiting for a few holds from the library so I picked up an older book by Terry Tempest Williams. An Unspoken Hunger: Stories From the Field was published in 1994. This collection of essays weaves together William's personal experiences with her passion for the natural world. For me, her writing stands the test of time and is worth rereading. 

I hope May is treating you to some bright colors. 

Ravelry Links

Prairie Shawl 

Speckled Socks 

Guernsey Scarf 

Wednesday, May 4, 2022

Unraveled Wednesday

Hello May. Sunday was a beautiful Spring day with sunshine, a breeze, and blooming lilacs. As I walk, I enjoy the tulips, wild violets, and the green fringe on all trees. Some trees have leafed out, some are in process.The Linden in our backyard sports buds beginning to unfurl. Friday a thunderstorm blew through and Monday gentle rain fell all day. We had almost an inch of rain. The rain was much needed as wildfires were burning out in central Nebraska.  

My husband has recovered from a mild case of Covid. I tested negative. We completed a ten day quarantine with only minor inconvenience. Vaccines and boosters did their job even though the latest variant is sneaky. I'm thankful for the making that helped pass the time. 

Today I'm easing back into my routine by linking with Kat and the Unravelers. I hoped I'd have this shawl finished but continue to experiment with color placement. A cup of coffee and a chocolate chip cookie helped me on my way. Doesn't everything go better with a chocolate chip cookie? The stitch marker is a dropped stitch. I plan to finagle and secure it on the wrong side after the shawl is finished. I wasn't sure I could drop down and work my way back across the eyelet section and didn't want to rip out that many rows. 

I continue spindle spinning two braids of fiber. I spin singles from one braid and while they rest I spin singles from another. I plied 90 yards of this raspberry BFL on Sunday. When I began to read about spinning, I heard about classes for spinners who wanted to spin something beside their "default" weight of yarn. I recall thinking that I'd be happy just to have a default kind of yarn. Well I have arrived at a fairly consistent default - two-ply yarn at sport/dk weight. 

As far as reading, I listened to The Island of Missing Trees by Elif Shafak and thoroughly enjoyed it. Although some of the story takes place in Cyprus in the 1970's, there is a lesson for any kind of civil conflict including those of our own time. I enjoyed the Fig Tree as a character and didn't see the ending coming until almost the end. The audio voices were excellent. 

I read Field Study: Meditations on a Year at the Herbarium by Helen Humphreys. Although this nonfiction may not be for everyone, I loved it. Humphreys wrote about a year (2020) she spent visiting Fowler Herbarium located at the biological research station of Queen's University in Ontario. I enjoyed the look into citizen collectors. This elegant little book is organized around the seasons and illustrated with photographs and labels of plants as well as a few drawings by Humphreys. I appreciated Humphreys' looking for and writing about the few women and Native Americans she encountered in her work. As the news goes from bad to worse, this book was just what I needed.

Spring, although cool, has arrived here. The double lilacs are blooming and so is the bleeding heart. I watch a robin sitting on a nest amid blossoms on the neighbor's apple tree. The tree and the nest are visible from my kitchen window. I hope you find just the book, project, or flower you need this week. Thanks for reading.